So I make this all sound like doom and
gloom, that there’s nothing we can do, we’re gonna die from everything, but
there are solutions. There are ways to move against or move away from chemical pesticides. So one way is using plants or flowers as a natural deterrent. There’s a
lot of organisms that emit smells, good smells, bad smells, but really strong
smells, so for example peppermint, lavender, basil, dill — these are all plants
that have a very strong smell. And a lot of insects can’t stand those smells.
They are deterred by them. It’s actually a natural remedy, a way to get rid of
mice is to put peppermint all through the openings of your house because it is
a very, very strong smell that just deters them. I mean think about you. If
you walk into a room that smells really, really bad. You don’t want to stay there.
It deters you from there. So you’ll actually see a lot of new age farms
actually planting tons of wildflowers, especially along the outside of their
field for that very reason. Plus you can also sell those wildflowers for an extra
commission. Another way to decrease the use of chemical pesticides is undergoing
polyculture. Remember that poly culture, “poly” means many. So planting many
different crops, we talked about it earlier on a very small scale level, so
growing crops for yourself, but it can be done at a widespread level. You can kind
of see that here in this picture, you have rows of different types of fruits
and vegetables and there’s even flowers in its own row as well. So let me give
you an example of why this works. Hopefully at some point in your life you
have done a Where’s Waldo and right now I know I’ve lost you, you’re looking for
Waldo, I will tell you where Waldo is a little bit. This is an example of
poly culture and all the different types of people are representing all different
kinds of plants. Now most insects are going to feed on one type of thing.
For example the tomato hornworm when it’s in its butterfly stage, it is looking for
tomatoes and let’s say you go across a field a polyculture field and you’re
looking for tomatoes and it’s incredibly hard. More
than likely you’re just going to skip over that field and just keep looking
until you find an easy target, finding a whole field full of tomatoes. So this
would be an example of polyculture. And now that your, oh man now I forgot
where he used to be, he’s like over here, somewhere, whatever you’ll find him. He’s over somewhere, there he is. Yeah all right so, there’s Waldo.
So here found my tomato plant, but it was hard to, right? And if you’re an insect looking for a tomato you’re just going to keep going. So this is why polyculture can be
beneficial when it comes to pesticide use. Whereas a monoculture, if they are
all tomatoes everywhere, it’s very easy to find this tomato. So Waldo is
everywhere, I can find him very easily. But again, if I was a tomato I wouldn’t
have to worry about it, or if I was an insect looking for tomatoes won’t have
to worry about it. BAM here are all the tomatoes, so this is
how polyculture can be better than monoculture. Another solution as well is
just to cut back on pesticides. And I know that kind of sounds
counterintuitive but remember pesticides can kill our naturally occurring
predators such as that parasitic wasp that attacked the hornworm that was a
natural predator. So by cutting back on our use of pesticides that can encourage
natural predators to come back. You can actually buy those parasitic wasps like
from the store and release them into your garden but if you’re spraying
pesticides you’re just gonna kill them. Anyway, so it provides like a really nice
ecosystem service. Another example are ladybugs. Ladybugs eat insects called aphids. Aphids are small little green, small little green things that will
attack your plants and eat your plants. You can also buy ladybugs at the store.
I say store, like a specialized store, you can buy them at the store and release them into your
garden. But again, if you’re using chemical pesticides, more than likely
you’ll kill the ladybugs as well. And then finally another way that you
can attack naturally-occurring pesticides is using pheromones. So
pheromones are hormones released by insects and really other species as well
to find a mate. The male’s will release it to the air and have the females come
find them and vice versa, females release them and the males go
and find them. So what happens depending on the species, a box is released. So in
this box are the pheromones and the male or the females, depending on the
species, so let’s just say the males. The males smell these pheromones and they
start going towards it and they go towards it and they go in the box
because they’re like “oh, go inside the box, that’s where all the pheromones
are. If I go inside the box, I’m gonna get my lady and I’m gonna get laid.” That is
not what happens. They get in the box and there’s no food, there’s no water,
there’s no ladies, it’s actually just a sausagefest, it’s just a whole bunch of
other males that also got trapped and they end up dying because of the lack of
food and water etc. So essentially you’re just starving them to death but you’re
attracting them with a naturally occurring chemical the pheromones.
Pheromones have no effect on any other organism except that organism. The other
picture is just another example of what a pheromone trap looks like. There is a
downside to this though, because you have to replace the pheromones. Like the
pheromones eventually run out and you have to go back out there so if you have
a really, really huge farm this can be kind of a problem because that’s a lot
of maintenance you would have to do. There is a video, but this lecture is
just about done, so watch this video at the end of this lecture. So as a summary,
our agricultural practices use a lot of chemical pesticides. Those chemical
pesticides can cause tons of different effects such as affecting other
organisms that we find useful such as honeybees or, you know, kill the natural
predators. It can also harm humans, you know, people die every year because of
pesticide exposure. We in the United States, I wouldn’t say we don’t care, but
because we try to preserve the integrity of businesses, businesses do what they want and we don’t regulate them as much which
is why we have a lot of problems with our different pesticides as well as
really chemicals in general. Bt not to fear there are ways to kind of deter the
use of chemical pesticides such as polyculture, using natural pheromones,
using plants that are really, really strong in scent, as well as just don’t
use them and let the natural predators take over.